Friday, 2 December 2011

Delicious Southern Rhône warmth in a glass

Well, technically, Costières de Nîmes isn't actually in the Southern Rhône, it is in the Languedoc. But geographically, it is pretty close and the wines are stylistically even closer - for my money, at least. The Costières de Nîmes are situated on a large, low-lying plateau, between the city of Nîmes and the west bank of the Rhône. Just to the south lies the Carmargue and the Mediterranean, and the climate is therefore extremely pleasant. The large stones or "galets roulés", which are a feature of the soil in this region, were washed down the Rhône valley from the Alps in prehistoric times, and the terroir is therefore very similar to Chateauneuf du Pape (a little further up the valley). And the resulting wines can often bear a more than favourable resemblance to decent Chateauneuf (despite often being more Syrah than Grenache-dominated), though without the hefty price tag - and this is a fine example......

Domaine de Calet Long Terme 2008 Costières de Nîmes
85% Syrah and 15% Grenache. A complex array of aromas, with bramble and casssis, raisins steeped in eau de vie, polished old wood and forest floor. It manages to be at the same time spicy (cinnamon and clove), citrussy (some lovely orange peel notes) and savoury, with some enticing tobacco and cedar notes lurking in the background. It really is a nose that many more fancy Southern Rhône wines would kill for. The palate is still relatively primary, but all the components are beginning to knit together nicely, with an abundance of rich, brambly fruit, a touch of bitter cherry kernel and spice, fine, grippy tannins and a streak of citrussy acidity. All of which makes for a beautifully balanced wine, with a gently warming touch of eau de vie and spice on the finish. It really is a joy to drink now (even more so than I was expecting) but also has the structure to age and evolve into something quite special over the next 5 to 8 years. A glorious wine for the money (£11.30).  


Vinogirl said...

I wish I had a bottle of this, (and a bottle of the northern Rhone wine on Jamie Goode's blog yesterday), and then I'd be a very happy woman :)

Leon Stolarski said...

Ah yes, the Maxime Graillot Crozes Hermitage. Sounds lovely. I actually have a few bottles each of Maxime Graillot's 2004 and 2005 Crozes tucked away - cracking wines.